「まさかあの娘がプリンセス」 (Masaka Ano Musume ga Purinsesu)
“Who Knew She’d Be a Princess?”
Finally, after 10 whole episodes, we have the one thing we’ve never seen before – a Tamako episode! With the “Tamako-sama” bomb dropped, all eyes are on her, and she doesn’t seem entirely comfortable with the attention.
An Unexcited Tamako
As word about the prince spreads, quite a few characters were excited about the news. Well, at least Shiori was – oh Shiori, you romantic you! For everyone else, that’s not quite the right word. They had strong reactions, let’s say that. Mochizou, Midori, all the shopkeepers – they were all surprised, to say the least. But Tamako?
“Choi-chan’s just mistaken.” Tamako really isn’t your stereotypical, brainwashed-by-Disney protagonist, is she? What struck me most was that she was much more excited about the medal than she was about this potentially life-changing revelation. It makes sense – dump something like that on a girl all of the sudden and what is she supposed to think? Besides, Tamako is a humble girl, to her eternal credit – she doesn’t need to become a princess to be happy. She’s plenty happy right now.
What I also found interesting was how two particular males didn’t seem too excited about the prospect if Tamako becoming the princess either. The most surprising was Dera, who seemed very skeptical about the idea. It’s worth remembering that, as silly as he may be, Dera is a very perceptive bird, and he has lived with Tamako for nearly a year now. I think he knows that Tamako belongs in her market. As for the other, that would be the prince himself. In the opening scene it didn’t seem like he was all that excited about their customs, or the upholding thereof. There might be hope for you yet, Tamako…and Choi-chan as well.
We Want Her To Be Happy
The principle arc of this episode can be summarized as “I want her to be happy, but I don’t want her to go!” From tsundere papa to Mochizou to Midori and all the rest, the thought of Tamako leaving was not one they were happy with. KyoAni drove this point home pretty well, though I had a problem with one point. When Midori, Kanna, and Shiori were outside talking about how they were a bit scared about this sudden change, the music kept getting in the way! I wanted the scene to be more reflective, so that I could worry with them and feel their unease, but as usual it seemed like Tamako Market was determined to blunt anything that threatened to raise the emotions to high. Feh!
Better was when Mamedai talked with the Master afterwards. (Irish Coffee? Master truly is the best!) To quote everyone’s favorite record store owner:
“There are some things you can gain by letting some things go. Happiness isn’t just what you have here and now.”
By the end of it, everyone was willing to let Tamako go if that’s what it took to make her happy…even if that’s not what Tamako wanted at all.
The point of this episode was uncertainty. I spoke about this last week with Sakurasou (and I really need to write a Stilts Out Loud on this – those will return soon, sports fans!), but let me quickly summarize – even if we “know” how a story is going to end, as long as the writers can make us doubt it – even for just a second – they can elicit an emotional response. After all, we know the good guys are going to win (excepting horror stories), but sometimes things get so bad we’re not sure, right?
That’s what they were doing here by having everyone “let go” of Tamako. To take Tamako out of her market…it’s unthinkable, right? But now, it’s almost like she would grow more by leaving. It’s almost like, maybe her happiness is out there somewhere, perhaps with this prince? Compounding that is the fact that the prince is a really nice guy, making it hard for us to say “Screw that bastard!” Hey, just maybe…
No, probably not. They still gave us several outs, such as the prince’s apparent reluctance and Choi not having read Tamako’s fortune before, not to mention Tamako’s own far more obvious reluctance. What’s more, an effective use of uncertainty requires a level of emotional impact which Tamako Market only brushed on (one might argue accidentally) during episode 9, and has never come close to reaching before or since. No, I still think Tamako will stay in her market, at least for now. We just have to wait to find out for sure.
Final episode ahoy! There’s not much left to say other than point to a relieved Dera in the preview. I suspect that will be for Tamako’s sake, but could it be for his own. Could we be looking at a confession scene!? Dera x Tamako? Oh noes!!
…Juuuust kidding! Probably. Definitely certainly probably. (Maybe!)
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Everyone is shocked &/or excited that Tamako (may be) a princess, except for Tamako herself. She’s happy, but…!? #tamakomarket
- D’awww, Tamako loves mochi! Nom nom nom.
- Loved how Tamako was singing the song her dad made for her mom, and how it made him all embarrassed. Tsundere dad remains best dad!
- Oh Kanna, you and your support beams! If the prince is taking Tamako, can I have Kanna? Please? …pretty please?